A recent Wichita County trial sends a clear message to drunk drivers. Elizabeth Duerson entered a guilty plea to an intoxication manslaughter charge for a 2010 collision. The crash occurred on January 21, 2010. Her brother, 20-year old Billy Crow, was ejected from the passenger seat and pronounced dead on the scene. Duerson’s blood alcohol level was tested hours after the crash. Her blood alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit. The jury deliberated and requested prison as a punishment. She has been sentenced to three years in prison. The visiting judge is allowing Duerson to remain on out on bond until her appeals process is complete.
The defense attorney requested that Duerson receive probation. He cited her children and gainful employment as two reasons to keep her in the community and out of prison. In addition, Duerson offered a remorseful, tear-filled testimony to the jury. The prosecutor, John Gillespie, pointed out her behavior as showing extreme disregard for human life. The defense argued that she was no longer a threat to the community. The jury, made up of six men and six women, deliberated for almost two hours. Ultimately, they decided that Duerson should receive prison time for her egregious crime. Duerson will not go directly to prison until her appeals process has been completed.
The conclusion of this devastating case comes at a time of year when drunk driving fatalities spike. The jury sent a clear message to potential drunk drivers with the outcome of this case. Endangering the lives of Wichita Falls citizens comes at a steep price. Even Duerson’s remorseful testimony was unable to sway the jury. Unfortunately, Duerson has already paid the steepest price with the loss of her younger brother.
The holidays are an especially dangerous time to be on Texas roadways. Many people are attending holiday parties and celebrations. Citizens of Wichita Falls can make the roads a little bit safer by exercising extra caution and vigilance during this time of year. The Texas Department of Public Safety urges drivers to be on the lookout for erratic driving. In addition, party hosts can ensure every guest gets home safely. Planning ahead with designated drivers is always a great idea. If you are injured in an accident with a suspected drunk driver, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney immediately. The team at Altman Legal Group wishes everyone a safe and happy holiday season.